What Does My Staff Need to Know to Care for the Elderly?

Many elders prefer aging in place. In fact, most of them choose in-home care support rather than nursing homes or assisted living. But as their needs change, safety concerns, getting around, and other activities of daily living grow. So they turn to senior care services to improve their quality of life and not worry about safety issues, among other reasons. Staff training is crucial to their overall quality of care.

Unfortunately, if statistics are anything to go by, many senior adults suffer at the hands of caregivers and other senior home staff. They’re hurt, neglected, isolated, among other things. World Health Organization reports that 1 in 6 people 60+ years experienced some form of abuse in senior living in 2020.

As the owner or manager of a senior living community, you must ensure that these elders get the care services they deserve. Not just for the reputation of your facility, but for compliance reasons. Every state has its regulatory requirements for senior living homes, and all stakeholders must understand them. 

Staff training provides the easiest way to comply and meet the elder’s needs. It arms your staff with knowledge about:

 

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Understanding the unique needs of older adults

Older adults are faced with a range of physical, psychological, and social challenges due to age-related issues. As such, they need support in activities related to daily living, self-care & mobility, social activities & relationships, and mental health.

These adults also desire to cope with their illness while still living independently. However, environmental factors like lack of information on services like care pathways, lack of professional advice on self-care strategies, and poor communication & coordination of services get in the way of these efforts.

 

How senior living staff can help

The senior living staff has to help to this end. They can ensure that adults lead comfortable lives in living homes. First, however, they’ll need the training to better care for these adults while complying with the law.

Assisted living facilities often have different staff types, as shown below:

The training may be specific to staff types or general. For example, support personnel may go through specific healthcare topics, but there are still common areas of training that all staff should be exposed to.

 

What your staff needs to know to care for the elderly

One of the greatest concerns in senior-living communities is the safety and well-being of its elderly residents. Regardless of their positions, your staff needs to be adequately trained on things like cognitive impairment, the aging process, infection control, fire and life safety, etc.

They should also learn about basic food safety, emergencies, and fall prevention. Training ensures that all members of staff react appropriately when necessary. It also ensures your facility complies with your state’s regulatory requirements.

 

Compliance aspects

All staff members should be trained on compliance aspects. They should know:

 

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Infection control and prevention

With approximately 1 to 3 million serious infections happening every year in skilled nursing assisted living and nursing homes, the importance of infection control and prevention can’t be overstated. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to infections and communicable diseases like COVID-19. With this training, your staff should be able to:

 

Lifesaving skills

You can also train your staff some basic lifesaving skills. At a minimum, teach them to perform first aid and CPR. This can be lifesaving, especially if you have at-risk seniors in your facility.

 

Cognitive training

If your senior living facility has residents with cognitive conditions like dementia, you should have training sessions for your staff about health complications, hydration, wandering, aggressive behaviors, dignity and sexuality issues, and sundowning.

Wellness and lifestyle

A lifestyle approach helps seniors improve their physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual well-being. Your staff should also learn about therapeutic interventions, activities, and communication.

 

Other residential training

You should train employees to know:

 

Management training

Your management team should know the following.

Staff training is a great way to care for adults and stay compliant with the regulations. But unless you keep track of all the training your staff gets, you might never realize its full impact. Tracking staff training can give you a clear picture of where you stand. It also provides data to help make informed business decisions for a better future.

 

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Track staff training

A lot of work and resources go into staff training. But unless you track your work, your efforts might go to waste. By tracking your staff training, you can:

  1. Analyze statistics (who took what course, how many people were trained, and the average score) ad monitor learners’ progress.
  2. Determine whether the training offers a good return on investment (ROI).
  3. Ensure that all staff members have received compulsory compliance training.
  4. Document everything that’s happening as you create a learning culture in the facility

There are different ways to track staff training. Here are a few examples.

Staff training is easier with the right business system, and with the suggestions above, you should have an easier time navigating the process. If you’re having a hard time implementing these systems in your senior living home, we can help. Get in touch with us today.

Can A CRM Help With My Senior Care Community?

The National Investment Center for the Senior Housing and care (NIC) recently reported that senior housing occupancy in the United States has been lowest since 2020. Therefore, your senior care community needs to stand out to get more clients.

The method you use to store, collect and retrieve data on leads in your community’s sales cycle is important. It helps determine how easy it will be to convert prospects to residents in your senior care community.

Initially, senior living communities tracked leads and managed client relationships with spreadsheets or the usual pen and paper. However, with advancements in technology, spreadsheets may no longer be efficient. Most successful senior care communities use a software called Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to track leads and manage client relationships.

This article discusses CRM in detail. We will look at what it is, how it will help your senior care community, and why you should consider it.

What is a CRM?

CRM software is a tool that senior care communities use to market, manage sales, and build relationships that provide referrals and build occupancy. The software achieves this by centralizing customer data from various sources, thus making it easier for you to make intelligent business decisions.

A CRM also allows you to maximize referrals and leads through automated communications and tracking interactions. You can actively engage with people listed in your software. Doing so goes a long way in converting them to residents.

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How CRM helps you engage with prospects

Seniors, especially those living with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitive impairment, require a high level of care. For instance, if the senior has dementia, they will need to select one out of many memory care facilities that prioritize dementia care.

Since relocating to a senior community involves uprooting their entire lifestyles, seniors or family members taking care of them know it’s a big decision. It is only natural that prospects will research senior care communities as much as possible and ask questions when they need clarification. Your job is to provide them with all the relevant information and answer any questions.

Actively engaging with prospects makes them perceive your community as knowledgeable. It also shows that you care about their welfare.

CRM makes engaging with prospects relatively easy through automation. Additionally, when your community’s representatives contact prospects in real life, you can track and monitor their performance. Generally, CRM platforms ensure you don’t lose any leads.

Why use a CRM in your senior care community?

Building relationships is critical in every senior living community. You may initiate relationships through interpersonal interactions, personalized tours, and marketing campaigns, but you still need to turn prospects into clients.

Since most communities have several team members and prospects, there is a need to maintain trusting, consistent, and strong relationships between prospective clients and the brand. This is where a CRM comes in.

A CRM system consolidates client information and manages client relationships on your behalf. Below are ways a CRM can help your senior care community.

Capturing leads and critical information

With CRM, you can easily capture and store data on prospective residents in a centralized location. By doing so, you can see what information they are interested in and track your interaction with them.

This information will also come in handy in care planning when the prospect becomes a resident.

Nurturing prospects to increase occupancy

A CRM enables you to stay in touch with your prospects and build relationships with them. You can collect data on their goals and interests and save the information to your CRM to deliver a personalized experience.

The CRM can easily create personalized communications to tailor-fit the prospects’ profiles so that the information they get is what they need.

Increased insight

A CRM software enables sales and marketing teams to view relevant data and prospect statistics. This way, you can tell which audiences you have been more successful with and which ones require more effort.

A CRM solution also helps you and your staff make appropriate follow-ups.

With increased insight, your sales process will be highly effective since you know exactly where you need to focus. The prospect report from a CRM helps you prioritize the strong prospects you can potentially convert to customers. You can use various marketing and sales tactics on these prospects, including direct mail and targeted online advertisements.

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Automation

A CRM will reduce the response time of your senior care community through automation. The CRM tools change the reporting process from manual to automated. You can filter the automated dashboard to display as little or as much data as you want.

Additionally, the software can schedule follow-up e-mails or calls and issue post-tour surveys. Using this technology can also reduce human error, saving you a lot of time and resources.

Automation also allows you to reallocate valuable resources. Instead of focusing on data entry or management, you can build meaningful relationships with prospective clients. Additionally, you can follow up on your prospects faster. This way, they will deem your senior care community reliable and responsive.

Improved reporting and analytics

Your CRM allows you to manage all your data in one place. You can use it to generate reports which present and interpret essential data.

Additionally, you can monitor your sales and marketing team’s performance and analyze sales activity, trends, and referral sources.

Revenue tracking

A CRM automatically allows you to cross-reference the revenue you have earned with your marketing efforts.

With a CRM, you can quickly evaluate how effective your marketing methods are by tracking your margins and comparing your expenditure and revenue. Together with demographic insights, this information will help you focus on audiences with a higher purchasing power.

Get started with CRM for your senior care community

CRM is an essential tool for every senior care community. It promotes efficiency and helps turn prospects into customers.

Our CRM is tailor-made for senior care communities. Contact us to get more information on how our CRM tool will help you. It is designed to build occupancy in your senior care community and make more profit in the process. We would be delighted to show you how our CRM tool can seamlessly integrate into your community.

 (877) 472-5587

Smart Technology for Senior Living Is Growing Fast

The older people get, the more support they need from caregivers, friends and family members. Additionally, there is a need for older adults to live in residences that accommodate the ordinary incapacities of old age, including but not limited to reduced mobility, reduced vision, and increased risk of falls.

Smart devices can make seniors’ everyday life safer and more independent. This article discusses the various smart home devices that promote independence and convenience in the senior living community. Some of these devices can potentially save their lives when they are in danger.

Smart devices and their benefits

Smart devices make assisted living and memory care for seniors much easier. Here are a few devices that have proved efficient for older adults.

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Cameras

You may not want to have 24/7 feed on what your loved one is doing. However, security cameras come in very handy when you’re caring for them remotely. You can see when they are moving around and who visits the house when your loved one is alone through the live video feed.

Note that the decision to install cameras in your loved one’s home is a big decision. Some seniors may find it highly intrusive. Therefore, it is essential you discuss the issue with them, outline the benefits, and let them decide whether or not they are okay with it.

Automated thermostats

For seniors, day-to-day tasks like adjusting the thermostat for heating and cooling purposes can be cumbersome. Smart thermostats make their life easier by allowing them to regulate temperature without necessarily moving. The thermostats can either be voice-controlled or remote-controlled.

Smart lighting

Smart lighting features smart light bulbs that allow you to dictate lighting on schedules and turn the lights on and off using a smartphone. Additionally, you can set it so that the light is triggered by movement, i.e., it goes on when someone walks in the room and off when they walk out.

The two best features of smart lighting are automation and the hands-free feature. Therefore, it promotes independence and safety.

Smart emergency contact systems

An emergency contact system is a wearable electronic device that gives on-call monitoring and alerts you when your loved one falls.

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If your loved one is not a fan of wearing electronic devices, you can opt for non-contact devices like smart speakers.

A smart speaker has emergency alert features that make it possible for your loved one to contact emergency services in case of an emergency.

Biomedical monitoring devices

If you’re worried about your loved one’s health, especially if they live alone, you can buy biomedical monitoring devices that they can wear inside and out of the house. These devices will alert you when anything is out of the ordinary.

Biomedical monitoring devices not only monitor your loved one’s vital signs but also provide data to medical practitioners for early diagnosis and treatment in case of emergencies. 

Smart contact sensors

These smart home products benefit seniors with dementia since they tend to leave the house without warning. Smart contact sensors use smart sensor technology to issue alerts on when doors and windows are opened.

You can install contact sensors on windows and doors to get alerted on when they have been opened and for how long they have stayed open. This way, your loved one’s safety is increased. 

Smart locks

It is common for seniors to forget to lock their windows and doors. A smart lock allows you to check whether the windows and doors are locked. Additionally, you can lock doors and windows remotely so that your loved one doesn’t have to.

Smart locks come in handy if your loved one occasionally wanders out of the house. They are also helpful when keys get misplaced.

Note that smart locks may not be ideal for people with memory issues.

Smart smoke detectors

Smoke detectors are a must-have in every home. When it comes to seniors, it is highly recommended that you get smart smoke detectors since they may fail to hear the regular smoke alarm in the home and react to it quickly enough. Smart smoke detectors deliver audible sirens in the house and send alerts to caregivers, friends, and neighbors through smartphone alerts. This way, the senior’s safety is guaranteed.  

Smart displays and voice communication devices

You can buy a smart screen to keep in touch with your loved one easily. This smart home device connects to Wi-Fi and allows voice and video calls to people outside the house. Additionally, they have voice control, enabling seniors to do various tasks like looking up the news, calling up contacts, and searching for information through voice commands.

Smart home assistants

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Smart home assistants like Alexa and Google assistant have gained popularity over the years. They make menial tasks easier for seniors.

Most smart home assistants follow voice commands. Therefore, they are convenient for seniors. Other than that, they can control other smart devices in the house, i.e., they can make phone calls, play music, read books, search for information, among others tasks.

Privacy and security concerns

As discussed above, smart home technology has several benefits. However, there are surveillance concerns. Most of the devices that stem from surveillance and security systems may infringe on seniors’ privacy and control.

Using technology to promote the safety and independence of seniors is advantageous. Still, if you do it incorrectly and without the senior’s consent, the one-way surveillance infringes on their privacy.

To avoid this, caregivers need to communicate openly with their loved ones. Choose devices that offer two-way communication, so instead of you simply watching your loved ones, you can communicate with them.

Tech companies are also moving away from invasive products and creating products specifically tailored for seniors.

Other than privacy concerns, there are security concerns. Most smart devices have software that requires consistent password changes to ensure that they are not susceptible to breaches. 

Conclusion

Most seniors have embraced smart technology since it gives them a sense of independence. Contact us if you’re looking for smart devices for your loved one. We are a smart home hub that offers tailor-made solutions to suit your loved one’s needs.

Tracking Vaccinations In A Senior Living Community

Immunization records are essential records that track your vaccination history from when you were a baby to the present. It is essential for older adults, especially those 65 and older, to have an immunization record. Additionally, the record should be up to date.

This article discusses immunization records for seniors. We will discuss its importance, tracing vaccination records, and what to do if you don’t get any records. Additionally, we will discuss the best way to keep track of vaccinations in senior living communities.

Importance of vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that every year, thousands of people are hospitalized, develop long-term illnesses, and even die after contracting illnesses that could have been avoided had they been vaccinated. Older adults are especially at high risk.

Some of the vaccine-preventable diseases that prove fatal are; flu viruses (including seasonal flu), pneumococcal disease, HPV (which is a risk factor for cancer), tetanus, influenza viruses (including influenza flu), shingles, and pertussis, among others.

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The CDC ensures that the vaccines people get are safe. Some studies suggested there is a link between the flu vaccine and Guillain barré syndrome (GBS), especially in older adults. Research has shown that the exact cause of GBS is still unknown, and there is no evidence that the flu vaccine causes GBS.

Are vaccination records vital?

Most people assume that vaccines are just meant for kids, but that is not the case. Although you will receive most vaccines when you are just a few months of age, you may require booster shots when you become an adult.

Vaccination records are critical for seniors because other than health care providers in senior living communities knowing which vaccines they require, they can also give them booster shots for vaccines administered when they were younger, some of which are relatively new.

Tracing vaccination records for seniors

Unfortunately, no organization maintains vaccination records, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The only records you may find are those parents or caregivers are given when the vaccines were administered and the medical records of the clinic where the vaccines were administered. Therefore, it is up to every individual to gather their vaccination records.

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Tracing vaccination records for seniors can be a daunting task. Therefore, it would help to have a comprehensive plan on how to go about it.

To trace vaccination records for seniors, there are specific places you can check. Here are a few tips.

  1. Ask whether they have records of their childhood immunizations. Most times, the records are passed on from their parents or caregivers.
  2. Check documents they saved from their childhood; this includes any baby books.
  3. Check with their previous employers. Some employers have specific vaccination requirements, so you’ll be able to tell which vaccines the senior got.
  4. Check with schools that the seniors attended. Some high schools and colleges keep such records for several years.
  5. Check public health clinics where the seniors frequented.
  6. Consult their doctors.
  7. Check with state health departments. Some of them keep immunization records, but they may not be for people of all ages.

Once you get all the necessary vaccination records possible, take them to the senior’s doctor and request that they be compiled and uploaded on an official immunization record and other relevant registries.

After that, store all the documents you gathered in a safe place for future reference.

What if you can’t get any records?

If you tried all means but couldn’t get any records, consult your healthcare provider. There are specific blood tests that can reveal whether or not the senior received certain vaccinations.

However, there are instances when the senior will have to be vaccinated again, especially when there are no records and the blood tests do not prove that the senior is immune to specific vaccine-preventable illnesses. 

Note that the vaccines are safe whether or not the senior received them earlier. In the long run, the vaccine will reduce the risk of them succumbing to various illnesses.

Keeping track of vaccinations

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Today, most people move every few years and change healthcare providers in the process. Therefore, getting old vaccination records may prove difficult as well as time-consuming.

You must keep track of the vaccinations of seniors in senior living communities. The records should also be accurate and up-to-date.

Draw up an immunization record for each senior and store them safely together with other vital documents. Alternatively, you can ask a vaccine provider, pharmacist, or doctor for a vaccine record form and use it to fill in the necessary details for each senior.

It would be best if you had the vaccine record form present during any hospital visits. Ask the vaccine provider to sign the form any time you receive a vaccine. They will sign against the type of vaccine the senior received.

Note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently started an initiative to store immunization records. Therefore, it would be best to ask the vaccine provider to update the seniors’ information on the CDC Immunization Information System (IIS). This way, the senior’s vaccination records will be readily available on the system.

Another advantage of the IIS is that it makes it easy for a vaccination provider to determine the appropriate vaccinations for the senior. It combines all vaccination records into a single record so that they can access them easily.

Covid -19 vaccinations for seniors

Most seniors live in senior living communities. More often than not, the seniors in these settings have underlying conditions since they belong to a specific age group. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19.

The CDC recommends that all seniors get COVID-19 vaccines. Seniors have two options: schedule a vaccination appointment and get the vaccine from a health facility or request an on-site vaccination. Note that they may experience a few side effects after getting the vaccine, but it will be beneficial in the long run.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require senior living communities to upload COVID-19 vaccination data for their residents. Therefore, you must keep track of COVID-19 vaccination data for all seniors in your community.

Conclusion

Vaccine records are vital. It would be best to keep track of all seniors’ vaccinations in your senior living community. By doing so and keeping your information up to date, you can ensure the seniors get the vaccines they require and dodge potential complications from flu, COVID, & more.

Top Modifications for Senior Living Spaces

Seniors are more vulnerable to slip and fall, especially if they have long-term health issues. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Unfortunately, falls are the leading cause of injury, hospital admissions, and even death among this population. When falls happen, they can result in broken bones, hip fractures, head injuries, and even depression. That’s why modifications for senior living spaces need to be made to lower the chances of slip and fall accidents.

The fear of falling becomes more common as people age, even among those who haven’t fallen. It can make the elderly avoid social and physical activities like shopping, walking, or interacting. Senior-proofing your senior living community can give residents confidence that they are safe and encourage them to participate in different activities. It can also lower the chances of accidents happening.

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That being said, here are some top modifications for senior living spaces:

Install stair railings

A majority of stairway falls result from loss of balance. And with issues like stiff or damaged joints, neurological conditions, and ear problems being common among the elderly, it’s easy to see what loss of balance happens a lot. Since stairway accidents can lead to severe injury and even death, installing quality stair railings is essential. Good design and construction of stairs and handrails can substantially minimize the chances of misstepping by offering a way to retrieve balance.

Note: When installing handrails, it’s best to put them on both sides of the stairways. But if your stairway is wide, you can put a single handrail at the center. Rounded handrails also perform better as they fit the hand better than other designs.

Modify bathtub and showers to make them more accessible

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Older adults find it hard to use the toilet, faucets, shower, and bathtub effectively and safely. Most of them have lost strength and mobility, so standing in a shower for a long time is not possible. It’s also risky to get in and out of a bathtub. Luckily, there is a range of modifications you can make to enhance senior safety in your facility. These include:

Modify the floors

The more consistent you can be with your senior living flooring, the safer your facility will be. Consistency limits the number of transitions which are often tripping hazards. Many seniors drag their fit or don’t lift them as much. So when you have transitions, it’s best to keep the height difference at a minimum, or when possible, level in all rooms.

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Remove, repair, or replace any lumps, bumps, breaks, saddles, transitions, holes, and other trip hazards, both inside the facility and in any outdoor spaces. Consider replacing multiple types of flooring indoors with one uniform type of nonskid flooring to reduce physical and visual transitions between rooms. You can also:

Widen doorways for accessibility

Sticky, narrow, or unwieldy doors make it hard for seniors to access the rooms, especially when using a wheelchair. They can impede mobility in the senior living facility and overall space access for seniors. So, if the aging parents in your facility have trouble accessing the room, you may want to make modifications to fix the doors. Here are some ideas:

Implement assistive technology for safer spaces

Seniors, especially those with disabilities, still need some form of independence even when staying in assisted homes. So you’ll need to make a range of accommodations, including the use of senior care technology. Assistive technology includes any tool or service used to increase, maintain and improve the functional capabilities of seniors.

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Smart technology may include an amplification device to make sounds easy to hear, or something as simple as a walker to improve mobility. It could also be a magnifying glass for a senior adult with vision issues or a scooter that makes it possible to cover long distances. So, basically, assistive technology is anything that helps continued participation in daily activities. Here are some examples:

The goal of modifications for senior living facilities is to create safer rooms and spaces for all residents. It will also help protect you from any liabilities within the facility. But you’ll need an expert to help you with some modifications, including safe room design.

At Wytcote, we can help you design safe spaces that will set your facility apart from the rest. Contact us today to learn more.

Older Age & Coronavirus: Why Are Seniors At Risk?

People all over the world are worried about being infected with COVID-19. Statistics have shown that older adults aged 65 years and above are at a higher risk. The risk is even higher for older adults who live in care facilities since the rate of coronavirus transmission is much higher.

Note that by higher risk, we mean seniors are more likely to become critically ill and die due to COVID-19 infection. Although younger people can still catch COVID-19, their chances of hospitalization and death are much lower except in cases where the patient has health issues, e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. Most young people have mild flu-like symptoms. Some don’t have any symptoms at all.

Young and older adults alike should take the necessary precautions to avoid catching COVID-19. SARS CoV-2 infections have serious symptoms that can lead to hospitalization or death.

This article discusses the relationship between old age and the coronavirus. We will look at the reasons why seniors are at risk and how to protect them against infection.

Why seniors are at a high risk

As mentioned before, seniors are likely to become critically ill or die due to COVID-19. These are the three main reasons why seniors are more vulnerable.

1. They have a weakened immune system.

As people grow older, their immune system weakens. This explains why seniors have harsher symptoms even when they catch a cold. Likewise, seniors will get sicker from COVID-19 since their immune system isn’t effective enough to fight off the virus. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of hospitalization and death.

2. Underlying health issues

Most seniors have underlying issues that healthcare practitioners consider risk factors. They include: lung disease, diabetes, and heart disease.

Additionally, seniors who have undergone treatment for renal failure, cancer, liver disease, and high blood pressure are at a high risk of getting infected with the coronavirus.

3. Stress

Even though they may have limited interaction with other people, the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic can be quite stressful for seniors. Additionally, since seniors are vulnerable, they are likely to become stressed over possible infections. Stress can harm seniors’ immune systems, which makes them even more vulnerable.

How to protect older adults

Since the COVID-19 case is still prevalent, there is a need for us to protect older adults. The best way to go about this is to minimize interaction as much as possible. Older adults should only leave their homes if it is very necessary. However, limited interaction in and of itself, can cause stress because staying active and entertained is important to their well-being.

Here are a few pointers on how you can protect seniors so that they remain healthy.

Take the necessary precautions

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If you are a caregiver, you need to take the necessary precautions to avoid getting infected with the virus. These are some of the basic things you can do to stay safe:

 

Maintain social distance

Older adults have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Therefore, it would help if you lowered the risk by limiting your interaction with them.

Limiting interactions doesn’t necessarily mean that you keep them isolated. Remember that loneliness can harm older adults’ mental health and immunity. 

Check on them now and then without necessarily interacting with them through calls and social media.

Use technology to keep in touch

We all know that it can get rather lonely during this period. With minimized physical interactions, older adults will likely feel lonely. It would help if you taught them how to use technology to stay in touch. You can do this by:

 

Ensure they are vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccination plays a major role in reducing the risk of infection. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults above 65 years of age get the COVID-19 vaccine. A recent peer reviewed study revealed that older adults who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine have a 94% reduced risk of being hospitalized due to complications related to the coronavirus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the COVID-19 delta variant, spreads faster and causes more infections than the earlier variants. Those infected with the delta variant are at a higher risk of hospitalization and death.

Therefore, unvaccinated people should consider getting the vaccine as soon as possible. Fully vaccinated people are half as likely to contract the deadly delta variant. Additionally, they are less likely to infect other people.

Older adults should also consider getting booster shots to strengthen their immunity. This way, their immune system can more easily fight off infections.

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Keep them occupied

It would be best to keep older adults entertained as they stay indoors. Buy them entertainment items like crossword books that will keep them occupied for an extended time. Stay away from board games since they involve a lot of contact. You could also keep them entertained with movies.

Monitor them for symptoms

It would be best if you always were on the lookout for any COVID-19 related symptoms. At the same time, tell seniors to inform you if they notice symptoms like shortness of breath, coughs, or fever. If they don’t have any symptoms, do not take them to the hospital. Minimize hospital visits as much as possible.

If the older adult has coronavirus symptoms, call a healthcare provider. Do not rush them to the ER unless the difficulty in breathing is severe. The healthcare provider will give you instructions on what to do next.

Conclusion

Seniors are at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus due to their weak immune systems, underlying conditions, and stress. Therefore, you must protect them at all times. Use the tips we have shared above to ensure that they stay healthy, happy, and entertained.

How to Hire for your Senior Living Community

Independent living is a common goal for older people and often they need care and comfort to lead healthy and happier lives. They need help with activities of daily living, like personal hygiene, safety supervision, ambulation, housekeeping, meal preparation, shopping, and medication reminder. In fact, this is part of the reason they join assisted living homes in the first place. Having the right care team is the best way to ensure these adults get the most out of their stay in your facility. But the right team doesn’t just happen. It starts from the people you hire to be part of your senior living community. And as you may already know, hiring caregivers is one of the biggest challenges many senior homes face.

Representatives from most facilities across the US cite caregiver shortage as their top concern, far ahead of other threats like increasing minimum wage and unrelenting competition. Add that to the high nurse turnover rates, and you start understanding how tricky the situation is.

And the current industry growth isn’t making the situation any better. Today, caregivers have options when it comes to where to work. Meaning, you’re competing for employees against retail companies, fast food chains, and giants like Walmart and Amazon. Unless you have a well-thought out onboarding and retention program, your business might take a huge hit.

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In today's job market, signs like these are all too common.

What’s driving high turnover rates?

Currently, the US has the highest number of people age 65. Projections show that the baby boomer population will increase from 49 to 95 million between 2016 and 2050. During the same time, the labor force will only increase by 14%. According to PHI, labor-intensive work, few growth opportunities and irregular hours are some of the reasons senior care facilities continue to experience huge turnover rates.

How to hire for assisted living facilities

That said, the goal is not to onboard caregivers for your senior care services but to find those who can stay with you for a long time. This article will break down the hiring process to help you make the most out of it.

Determine the task at hand to pick the right caregiver

So, are you looking for a nurse to help residents take their medicines on time, or a physical therapist to keep the seniors in good physical shape? Your needs will influence the type of professional you’re looking for, as well as the approach you take. Here are some health care professionals for senior homes:

Physical therapists: Physical therapists help residents maintain their physical function and reduce the risk of falling. They take care of strength training, pain management, and fall prevention.

Registered nurses: Registered Nurses initiate treatment plans and administer medicine. They prepare IVs, give injections, draw blood and take vital signs. These nurse practitioners monitor patient health and ensure they’re getting proper care. They also report any changes in the residents’ health or living situation.

Licensed Nursing Assistances: LNAs work under the supervision of RN. They take vital signs, give enemas, and may initiate medicine, apply dressing, bandages, insert catheters, and monitor IVs. They may also feed residents and note down any changes in their health.

Occupational therapists: Occupational therapists identify the causes of difficulties that limit participation in activities of daily living, leisure engagement, and educational and vocational pursuits.

Social workers: Social workers help seniors adjust to life in their new residence, advocate for their clients; needs and rights, provide supportive counseling and make a psychosocial assessment.

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Define the job before hiring

Perform a job analysis to gather information about necessary skills, responsibilities, duties, work environment, and outcomes for a given job. For example, an elder who needs help with light housekeeping or hygiene will have different needs than one with Alzheimer’s. A job analysis guides you in creating a job description for the new employee. It also helps you plan your recruiting strategy.

Here are some common items that you can include in your job description:

Know what to look for

In addition to certification, you want to find a caregiver who’ll treat the residents with care and respect. The caregiver should also have a good disposition, ability to deal with stress, non-argumentative temperament, and overall compassionate nature.

Personality: Find a caregiver with a good personality. Their qualifications alone won’t change their attitude. Avoid a caregiver who comes with a list of things they won’t do. Instead, work with one who’s open to most assignments.

Experience: Your ideal caregiver should have the necessary experience to handle senior-specific needs. For example, if the seniors have Alzheimer’s, the caregiver should have experience dealing with Alzheimer’s patients and so on.

Training: A good caregiver should have some form of training, whether formal or informal. But depending on the task at hand, the caregiver may need certification and licensing.

Honesty and reliability: Check references to ensure the caregiver passes the honesty and reliability test to ensure they won’t steal from the residents or fake the hours worked. Also, check to confirm that they always show up on time every time.

Accountability: Ask interview questions that help you gauge whether the applicant shifts blame or takes responsibility for their actions. Then use your best judgment to determine if they are a good fit.

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Find and interview a caregiver

There are many ways to find a potential caregiver. You can ask for referrals, advertise on job boards like Craigslist or place an ad in the classified section of your local newspaper.

If you have a website, you can publish the job posting on your site and share it on your company’s social media pages. You can even share them through Google or Bing Ads. The goal is to spread the word about the job opening, to get as many applicants as possible.

Once the applications start coming in, you can interview the prospects over the phone and narrow down your options before interviewing in person. Use your job description to screen applicants – but also take it a notch higher to find out about things like:

Perform a background check before you hire

Background checks help you identify the right applicant to care for the residents and minimize the risk of hiring a person convicted of elder abuse. Think of it as a way to protect your residents against theft and violence. Background checks are essential, seeing 1 in 6 people 60+ years experienced elder abuse in 2020. In addition to checking criminal records, a background check can:

Depending on your preference, you can run checks through a private investigator or law office.

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Work with an agency

If all these seem overwhelming, you can work closely with an agency to find the right caregivers. Senior home recruitment agencies work with both professionals who seek job opportunities and employers looking to hire employees. They remove the hard work from the process, taking care of identifying talent, advertising roles, negotiating pay, and interviewing candidates, so you don’t have to. The only downsides of working with an agency are you’ll pay more for a caregiver and that you’ll also have limited negotiation.

Assisted Living Can Use 21st Century Technologies

Senior living homes are always on the lookout for ways to ensure that older adults are safe and well cared for. That’s why most of them embrace modern-day technologies like wearables, medical-alert systems, and other easy-to-use devices. These and other technologies help ensure assisted living residents get a quality level of care that’s affordable and adaptable to modern life.

A 2018 survey by the International Council on Active Aging reveals that assisted living homes are shifting from a care-first mindset to a wellness lifestyle. About 60% of respondents in the survey said their communities would be based on a wellness lifestyle with options for care by 2023. Wellness trends in an assisted living community are diverse. They include everything from timed medication dispensers to smart lights, fitness equipment and other specially designed senior living advances.

As always, patient care and wellness is the priority.  Thankfully, 21st century technology also provides breakthrough benefits for those who manage assisted living homes. Easy-to-use advances enable significant improvements in customer care, marketing, and communication. For instance, today’s technology makes it quick and simple for senior living homes to work with call centers to connect with potential clients. The same technology can even help free up their all-important teams. The assisted living market is now more competitive than ever. This creates a greater need to have a more public-facing component to their sales and marketing efforts, so they can stand out from the pack. Today’s technology can give you this edge.

21st century technologies for assisted living

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Today’s senior care homes always keep a close eye on cutting-edge technologies and upcoming breakthroughs in research. This is crucial in gaining an edge in the competitive market. Some common 21st-century technologies that assisted living facilities can use are:

Call centers to stay connected with potential residents

Many assisted living homes fall short in their marketing efforts. This is partly because they don’t have the right person to explain the value of what they offer to a potential customer. Call centers can solve this problem. For starters, they are available to answer questions and offer quality customer support 24/7. They also have a trained staff that will keep up with customer expectations. Top contact centers like Bay Alarm Medical take the stress out of the process. They communicate the right message to help customers make informed decisions. There is no replacement for skilled nursing care.

Digital platforms to market the business

Senior living homes need a steady stream of residents to succeed. That’s why the importance of marketing can never be overstated. Luckily, 21st-century technologies like mobile devices, computers, and the internet make it easy to connect, educate and attract prospects. Assisted living communities are now creating websites, managing their online reputation, and using social media to gain an edge in the market. Some are even providing virtual tours of their amenities. Computer-aided modeling lets prospects “tour” the facility to get an idea of what the home is all about.

Telemedicine for the convenience of residents

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Telemedicine is one of the fastest-growing segments of 21st-century technologies. A survey of 22 senior living providers by Senior Housing News found that telehealth is used for various services. In the survey, 75% of respondents said they were using telehealth for primary care. About 45% said they used it for emergent health issues and 30% for behavioral or mental health.

Most assisted living communities lack on-site expertise, which limits the on-site care options. So when a medically fragile, older adult develops simple issues, they may have to be transported to hospitals. Unfortunately, this may disrupt theiir routine, cause confusion, or expose them to viruses. Telemedicine addresses such challenges effectively.

Telemedicine offers convenience – something that many adults age 50 and over are interested in. It eliminates the discomfort of long drives and waits in the doctor’s office. Additionally, it can connect on-site staff to specialized medical expertise rather than moving a sick resident to a hospital. One study revealed that minimizing transportation costs for an in-person doctor visit can save long-term care homes $479 million each year.

IoT wearable devices and sensors

Many graying adults live at home. Most are lucky enough to get home care services from loved ones or caregivers. But aging involves decreased strength, stamina, and mobility. This increases the risk of progressive disability, a fall occurring, and the need for assisted living services.

Wearable technologies allow assisted living homes to monitor different parameters. These include frailty, body temperature, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, ECG, BCG, posture, heart rate, etc. They track residents’ physical activities and behaviors along with their biochemical and physiological parameters throughout the day. This way, they can tell when a condition or injury needs immediate health care. IoT wearable devices are highly portable and can attach to anything. They can be attached to eyeglasses, earrings, shoes, watches, gloves, and clothing.

In an assisted living community, wearable sensors allow caregivers to increase safety, improve quality of life and avoid false alarms. They also help monitor how efficiently the seniors are going about their daily tasks – like grooming or cooking in their houses or eating in the dining rooms.

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Tech that detects falls

As seniors age, they become more susceptible to slips and falls. The CDC reports that 50 – 75% of residents in nursing homes fall each year. This is twice the rate at which other seniors fall when not living in nursing homes. According to CDC, 24% of falls happen due to muscle weakness and 16-27% due to environmental hazards. Other common causes include medication and difficulty in moving from one place to another.

This is why assisted living homes embrace fall detection technologies to help monitor senior activities at all times. Such systems ensure that adults get immediate help, should they slip and fall. Medical alert systems like these can be a lifesaver, considering about 1,800 people in nursing homes die from falls each year. Senior homes also include grab bars in the bathrooms, railings on both sides of stairs and they ensure that every area is well-lit.

Technology can extend seniors’ ability to live independent and vibrant lives after injury or chronic illness diagnosis. As the baby boomers roll into their golden years, it’s evident that nursing homes need fresh approaches to improve a senior’s quality of life, as well as the ability to control costs. Technology can do both. Seniors can look forward to living their golden years in a more autonomous and healthier environment. Moreover, most importantly, it provides the peace of mind of knowing that the seniors are safe.

Why Memory Care Communities Are Growing

Every day, Grace visits her 78-year-old husband, Andrew, who lives in one of the memory care communities, just a few miles from her home. Andrew has severe Alzheimer's disease and needs 24-hour supervised care in a secure environment.

"It is the most exciting part of my day," says Grace, 75. "I take advantage of that time to feed him and make sure he's comfortable. I don't think he recognizes me, but we still share that special bond," she adds. “Each time I visit, we put in earbuds and listen to music from a single iPod, just like we did back in the day."

For many years, Grace and her two daughters took care of Andrew at home. When he was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's eight years ago, they hired a nurse to provide home care. But they later put him in a day program for seniors with memory loss.

"The arrangement was great at first, but as the disease progressed, it was no longer viable. So we opted to move him to a retirement home. That too, couldn't work because he started to wander," says Grace. "Our daughters and I decided to move him to the closest senior living home for specialized care. We're happy that he’s getting the best level of care."

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Many senior living homes offer specialized care for people with memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer's.

Grace's story depicts what millions of other American families go through trying to care for a loved one with dementia. At some point, they will have to seek professional help, as home care becomes impractical. And that's where memory care communities come in.

What are memory care communities?

Memory care communities are residential spaces that provide intensive specialized care for people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. They are designed to offer safe, structured environments with routines to lower stress for people with memory problems. Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities have special memory care units for patients with memory lapses. But some memory care communities are stand-alone.

Memory care is a growing segment of the senior housing sector. According to Senior Housing Business, the number of memory care units increased by 55% from 2013 to 2018. And this number is set to rise since World Health Organization projects that dementia cases will hit the 82 million mark by 2030 and 152 million by 2050. Today, there are around 50 million people with dementia globally.

Construction of memory care facilities overheats

A growing number of seniors need memory care services to help live with memory issues. If not for medical success, the number of seniors 65+ with Alzheimer's in the US is projected to grow to nearly 13 million in 2050. This is a significant rise from about 5 million in 2013, as per a report published by the Alzheimer's Association. The report further reveals that more than 6 million Americans are living with Dementia Alzheimer's.

This is a considerable number. But it still doesn't capture the entire need. Alzheimer's is only a single cause of dementia. But there are risk factors like Parkinson's, Huntington's disease, Traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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Highly specialized memory care facilities strive to offer their patients 24 hour supervision, while using the latest technology to help reduce the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

What's driving the growth in memory care communities?

McKnight Senior Living post shows a rising trend in occupancy for memory care communities. According to the post, there was an 82.7% occupancy rate for stand-alone memory care facilities in the 1st quarter of 2019, an increase from 81.5% in the 2nd quarter of 2018. It further explains that occupancy in freestanding facilities was 85.7% in the 1st quarter of 2019, 300 basis points higher than total occupancy. This growth indicates a strong year for the property type. This growth is attributable to a range of factors, including the following:

A growing population of baby boomers

The senior population 65 to 74 years is set to increase faster than any other demographic segment in the US between 2015 and 2030. The US Census Bureau's 2017 National Projections indicates that all baby boomers will be 65 or older by 2030. This will expand the senior population's size so that 1 in 5 residents will be of retirement age.

But as the number of seniors increases, so too will the number of dementia cases. By 2050, the number of seniors age 65 and older with Alzheimer's may hit the 12.7 million mark. This translates to a massive need for memory care communities. On top of the impact Alzheimer's has on the senior demographic, many people are diagnosed with other types of dementia at a rising rate.

With such cases on the rise, there’s an ever-growing demand for memory care homes. The available units might not be adequate to cater to the increasing need. This explains why dementia care developers are moving fast to build more units across different states in America.

Varying needs for seniors

Currently, those searching for memory care homes for a loved one have a hard time finding facilities that offer the most appropriate combination of care services, culture, and activities of daily living. Each person is unique. And about 25% of residents in senior facilities have three or more medical conditions that make a living without professional care impractical.

Memory care communities are not created equally. The culture, atmosphere, and cost of some facilities may appeal to some residents but not others. So, developers are trying to come up with diverse facilities to match different needs and preferences. They are not only striving to meet the growing demands for units, but also the specific needs of individuals.

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Many families simply cannot take care of their loved ones with memory loss issues. Luckily, some great facilities are out there to help take care of your loved ones.

The use of technology such as Apple watches, fall monitors, heart rate monitors can help reduce care costs but still rely on battery life and some technical knowledge to protect senior living communities of all kinds.

Families need help

The Facts and Figures report by Alzheimer's Association reveals that more than 11 million Americans offer unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias. For some, this is a way to protect their loved ones for as long as they can. But for others, it's a way to navigate the cost concerns. The cost of memory care is substantial. Dementia is among the costliest conditions in society.

Home care can be a great way to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. But at the end of the day, most families always end up moving their loved ones to a memory care community. Memory issues need a level of care that’s not easy to provide in home settings.

Although costly, these communities offer specialized care that dementia patients need. They have well thought out a care plan to ensure that all residents are comfortable. They also have technologies and processes to ensure senior safety. For example, they have wearables like fall monitors to alert caregivers in case of a fall and so on. We cannot say the same for home care.

Senior living homes have been expanding their memory care communities to meet the demands of an aging population. Through effective treatments and services, these facilities report improvements in different aspects of residents’ quality of life.

What to Look for in a Top-Notch Senior Care Facility

The decision to put your loved one in an assisted living home is never an easy one. But unfortunately, sometimes it reaches a point where they can't stay at home due to serious health and safety concerns. In this case, placing them in a care facility can be a great way to improve their health and quality of life. A top-notch senior care facility will provide high-quality long-term care – allowing your loved one to interact with peers and live in a safe and secure place with help close at hand.

But you should know that assisted living facilities are not created equally. Some are better than others. So it's imperative to familiarize yourself with the qualities of a good senior living community. Knowing what to look for can help you make an informed decision. Here are some essential qualities to look out for in a top-notch senior care facility.

Sufficient staffing

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Nurses and other staff members in senior living communities play an integral role in ensuring your loved one's optima health and wellbeing. They will see to it that your loved one is as comfortable as they should be at all times. When a senior care facility is understaffed, nurses may cut corners to get the job done the best they can. Unfortunately, this might translate to neglect and abuse that may cause physical illness, mental health issues, and even death among residents.

Top-notch senior care facilities understand this fact too well. They know that sufficient staffing is key to improving patient care and nursing retention. So they always ensure that there's an adequate staff-to-resident ratio at all times.

Exercise and fitness

As your loved one grows older, it can become harder to maintain their physical fitness. But the very changes that make the physical workout more challenging also make it more vital. Top-notch senior living facilities provide a wide range of senior activities for their residents. Working out helps resolve common old-age issues. The benefits of physical activity for older adults are far-reaching, and include:

A good assisted living community maintains a schedule of senior activities for its residents. It considers their patient’s physical limitations as it motivates them to stay active with routine workouts.

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Interesting activities for residents

In addition to physical activities, a good assisted living facility will have a range of other exciting activities in daily living. It will provide different kinds of social, educative, and interactive activities. Skilled nursing facilities that offer various social activities are more likely to help senior residents overcome loneliness and feel like part of a group. These activities should accommodate the need of each individual – which can be diverse in this setting.

Comfortable and clean environment

You can tell a lot about a senior care home by just looking at its surroundings. But beyond that, there are a few critical details that you need to pay attention to. For starters, you want to check out their units and ensure that they are designed for long-term care. Then, you want to check the doorways and hallways to confirm adequate lighting and observe any obstacles or safety hazards that might exist. The spaces around the home should also be clean, tidy, and well maintained. There should be no semblance of odors like feces or urine. Most importantly, the residents should be well-groomed and their quarters should appear clean and tidy.

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The best-skilled nursing facilities invest a lot in keeping the facility as welcoming as possible. You'll see the manicured ground, safe walkways, shady and sunny areas, and outdoor seating. Their rooms are spacious and with plenty of natural light. They also have functional HVAC systems. In many cases, these facilities allow residents to bring their furnishings and family pictures to decorate their spaces. They also have common spaces where residents can interact with each other and their families too.

Safety and security

Safety and security are the most common concerns for friends and families who admit their senior loved ones into living facilities. With abuse and theft cases hitting the headlines every so often, it's essential to assess the security and safety measures that a facility has in place to protect their residents. Top-notch senior care facilities have a maximum staff-to-resident ratio to avoid overworking staff members. This reduces the neglect and abuse cases that arise due to nursing facility understaffing. It also ensures that residents don't wander or elope out of the facilities. Moreover, the best facilities also have surveillance systems to monitor all activities inside and around the premises.

Amenities

The best-assisted living communities have a wide variety of amenities to cater to their residents' vast needs. They will have a library, computer access, and a health and wellness center with personal trainers. Some even have barbershops and salons within the facility, making it easy for residents to groom their hair. Older adults also love it when they look good and can engage in activities that make them feel valued.

A strong sense of community

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You can gauge the quality of care in a home by looking at how the nurses and other staff members interact with residents. They call the residents by their name, treat them with respect and engage in conversations. The staff also encourages residents to socialize with others to enhance their quality of life. You can also rate nursing homes by looking at how welcoming it is to you and other family members. A facility where loved ones are welcome makes it easier for seniors to transition smoothly and feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Staff attention and minimum restrictions to make you feel part of the community can improve seniors' quality of life and make the home more welcoming.

Utilizes modern technology - software & wearables

A best-in-class assisted living community will often employ the latest in technology, like SeniorSense, so it can detect falls and moisture levels even as they happen. The innovative software can allow the community to see where staff is and track their progress as well as monitor conditions such as room and water temperature. It can even monitor battery life levels on wearables, smoke detectors and CO2 detectors.

 

Decision-making opportunities

Last, but not least, your loved one should have the freedom to air out their opinions regarding how they wish to sleep, dress, participate in activities and even receive care. Find out if they are allowed to socialize or dine together with other residents. Speaking about dining, top-notch senior care facilities serve visually appealing food. They also change the menu from time to time and consider the residents' health issues and their ethical and religious needs.